By Jerry Markon
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 12, 2008; Page A01
They would meet every few months at restaurants in Northern Virginia, or sometimes take in a show in Las Vegas. Once, the Defense Department official emerged with a half-inch stack of hundred-dollar bills stuffed in his shirt pocket, federal officials said yesterday. His Chinese contact reported back to a handler in Beijing.
But FBI agents were tracking the pair, and they moved in yesterday and arrested both men in a case that federal officials said highlights China's increasingly aggressive efforts to obtain U.S. military and trade secrets. The FBI raids came hours before the Defense official, Gregg W. Bergersen, and the Chinese businessman, Tai Shen Kuo, had reservations to meet again at an Alexandria restaurant.
Both are charged in U.S. District Court in Alexandria with espionage, one of two cases announced yesterday by the Justice Department that involve alleged Chinese plans to infiltrate U.S. intelligence or companies. In California, a former Boeing engineer was accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of secret company documents about the space shuttle and military programs.
The case unfolding outside the nation's capital is not as significant as that of Aldrich H. Ames or Robert P. Hanssen, spies who were also prosecuted at the Alexandria federal courthouse and who did incalculable damage to national security, officials said yesterday. The government is still trying to figure out how much damage Bergersen, who lives in Fairfax County, may have caused with the information he is accused of giving Kuo, which mostly concerned U.S. military sales to Taiwan.
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